The Sorrow of Farewell 1

Li, Qing-zhao (1081 A.D.-1154 A.D.?)

    After the fragrance of red lotus flowers fades, the cool autumn arrives. I am dressed in a jacket aboard an orchid boat 2 alone. In the clouds who will send me a silk letter? When wild geese return, the moonlight fills the west tower 3.

    The flowers fall and waters flow. Even though the sorrows are separated in two places, the yearning is the same. I have no way to avoid my feelings. As soon as it leaves my eyebrows, the sorrow springs up in my heart.

1 This poem was written while Li's husband traveled to a distant city shortly after they were married.

2 An "orchid boat" refers to a fragrant boat that smells like orchids.

3 The wild geese are supposed to bring Li a letter from her husband.